Westerman Slams Biden's Proposed Monument That Would Lock Up Millions of Uranium-Rich Acres
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 4, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Next week, President Joe Biden is touring parts of the American Southwest and has circulated proposals to designate a new 1.1 million acre national monument in Arizona, land that is rich with uranium deposits and has historically been open to multiple uses. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
"This administration's lack of reason knows no bounds, and their actions suggest that President Biden and his radical advisors won't be satisfied until the entire federal estate is off limits and America is mired in dependency on our adversaries for our natural resources. This land belongs to the American people, not any administration or bureaucrats who think they make the laws. Both native and non-native peoples have benefited from open access to these acres for centuries, and used them concurrently for recreation, cattle grazing, hunting and more. Researchers have also discovered that this area is home to some of the richest uranium deposits in the country. But when we have an administration that's a hammer in search of a nail, suddenly we're seeing our own resources being locked away for decades at precipitous speeds with no end in sight. Minnesota, Colorado, and now potentially Arizona have all been victims of this administration's war on the American economy and the mining sector that is so important to economic growth and security. I fail to see any rationale in this proposal beyond a selfish political agenda that locks away the very resources we depend on for our daily lives. If President Biden moves forward with this insane proposal, I will fight it in Congress and advocate for responsible stewardship of our resources."
Biden's alleged plans next week include designating the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument, roughly 1.1 million acres. Much of this land is already federally owned and has been open to multiple usage for decades. A national monument designation would cut off much of this access, including the vast mineral stores contained underground.
The withdrawal area, located far outside the Grand Canyon, concerns the largest tract of uranium deposits in the country. In 2021, the United States imported approximately 95 percent of the uranium used by nuclear power plants. Of that, nearly 50 percent of the uranium came from either Russia or Kazakhstan. The uranium in the withdrawal area is high grade and necessary to expand domestic supply and reduce our reliance on Russian resources. Withdrawing this area from mineral development threatens American energy and national security.
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